logo


no avatar

Ottawa County Parks offers summer camps

• Apr 19, 2017 at 5:00 PM

Part of the Ottawa County Parks mission is to provide educational programs about the natural and cultural history of the county. The parks strive to do that for children all year-round, but especially in the summer months.

"We offer a variety of summer camps for all ages," said Coordinator of Interpretive Services Kristen Hintz. "For younger children, we cover topics from birds and reptiles to habitats and ecosystems. For older children, we focus on outdoor experiences like kayaking, mountain biking and fishing."

The parks department aims to offer these experience at the lowest possible cost.

"While there is a fee to participate in our summer camps, the purpose isn't to generate operating revenue. The cost of each program was carefully calculated and covers supplies, rental fees, and the staff time for each camp," Hintz said.

Many camps are offered at the Nature Education Center at Hemlock Crossing County Park, the system's home base for educational programming, but there are camps at other parks around the county.

Online registration for all camps is required and can be completed at  www.miOttawa.org/OCPEvents.

Nature Education Center staff can answer questions or help families for multiple camps by calling 616-786-4847.

Summer Camp Schedule

Weekly Day Camps for ages 3-10

Camps are offered weekly on Wednesdays at Hemlock Crossing County Park, with a few extra sessions at Grand River Park and Hager Park.

Early Sprouts, $5 per child - 9:30-11 a.m. • 3 years old to pre-K, with caregiver

The focus and activities of Early Sprouts are meant to engage caregiver and child interactions in the outdoors. Attending adults will have an active role in this camp.

Nature Buds, $10 per child - 9:30-11:30 a.m. • Children entering grades K-1

Young Discoverers, $10 per child - 9:30-11:30 a.m. • Children entering grades 2-3

Junior Naturalist, $15 per child - 9 a.m. to noon • Children entering grades 4-5

Nature Buds, Young Discovers, and Junior Naturalist day camps are designed to engage kids with nature through age-appropriate activities including outdoor games, stories and crafts.

Weekly Day Camp Themes:

June 14: Our Tiny Earth

June 21: Outdoor Survival

June 27: Outdoor Survival - Nature Buds and Young Discoverers only; camp offered at Hager Park

June 28: Feathered Friends

July 12: Slime and Scales

July 19: Habitat Hunt

July 25: Habitat Hunt - Nature Buds and Young Discoverers only; camp offered at Grand River Park

July 26: Buggin’ Out

August 2: Our Big Sky

August 9: The Buzz about Bees

August 15: Down n’ Dirty (Decomposers) - Nature Buds and Young Discoverers only; camp offered at Grand River Park

August 16: Down n’ Dirty (Decomposers)

Adventure Camps (grades 3-8)

Kayaking the Pigeon River (grades 6-8)

June 22, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Hemlock Crossing

Fee: $60

This fun introduction to kayaking will include instructional time on shore and in the water, and will familiarize participants with kayaks, boat entry and exit technique, paddling technique, and kayaking safety. We’ll enjoy the sights and sounds of Hemlock Crossing and Pine Bend while paddling along the Pigeon River. Kayak rental fee is included in camp pricing.

Crafting with Nature (grades 3-6)

June 29, 9 a.m. to noon

Hemlock Crossing

Fee: $15

Participants will learn how to incorporate natural materials into handmade treasures. Materials will be gathered during a hike along the trails.

Fish ‘n Paddle Camp (grades 5-8)

June 29, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Connor Bayou

Fee: $40

Introduction to the basics of catch and release fishing, including a familiarization with fishing gear, and time spent fishing and identifying fish. Participants will also enjoy a short voyage on the Grand River in the 12 person Gabagouache canoe!

Survival Camp (grades 6-8)

July 11-14, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Pigeon Creek

Fee: $75

Participants will build survival confidence by learning how to construct a shelter, use a compass, and start a fire. They will sharpen their new skills in the final day, with a group challenge!

Art in the Outdoors (grades 6-8)

July 11-14, 1-4:30 p.m. 

Hemlock Crossing

Fee: $75

Each day of this camp will offer unique art experiences. Participants will work with clay, pen and ink, pastels, and acrylic paints. Materials included.

Mountain Biking (grades 5-8)

July 20, 9 a.m. to noon

Riley Trails

Fee: $15

Participants will learn basic mountain biking skills and will enjoy most of the Riley Trails mountain bike loop. A mountain bike with at least six gears and a helmet are required.

Kayaking on the Grand River (grades 6-8)

July 27, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Connor Bayou

Fee: $60

This fun introduction to kayaking will include instructional time on shore and in the water, and will familiarize participants with kayaks, boat entry and exit technique, paddling technique, and kayaking safety. We’ll enjoy the sights and sounds of Connor Bayou Park while paddling along the Grand River. Kayak rental fee is included in camp pricing.

Blueberries & Bikes (grades 6-8)

August 3, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Riley Trails

Fee: $40

Participants will take a ride through Ottawa County’s scenic blueberry fields and pick a blueberry snack to fuel the adventure from Riley Trails to Tunnel Park. Participants should bring their own bike and helmet.

Junior Hike (grades 6-8)

August 7, 8:30 a.m. to noon

Grand Ravines North

Fee: $15

Hikers will enjoy a guided exploration of the ravines and lunch on the deck of the Grand Ravines Lodge, overlooking the Grand River.

Crafting with Nature (grades 3-6)

August 8, 9 a.m. to noon

Hemlock Crossing

Fee: $15

Participants will learn how to incorporate natural materials into handmade treasures. Materials will be gathered during a hike along the trails.

Survival Camp (grades 6-8)

August 9-10, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Pigeon Creek

Fee: $75

Participants will build survival confidence by learning how to construct a shelter, use a compass, and start a fire. They will sharpen their new skills in the final day, with a group challenge!

Junior Hike (grades 6-8)

August 14, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

North Ottawa Dunes

Fee: $40

Participants will spend the day trekking the shoreline and back dunes of Lake Michigan. Hike includes outdoor learning activities, games, and time to enjoy the beach.

Recommended for You